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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing and entertaining
Our memory skills, just like our food cravings for fat and sugar, were better suited to our days as hunter gatherers, according to Joshua Foer in Moonwalking with Einstein. Back then, what our ancestors needed to remember was where to find food, what plants are poisonous, and how to get home. This makes us great at remembering visual imagery, and not so good at...
Published on 15 April 2011 by Jaylia3

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Get to the point!
I bought this book as it was recommended by a colleague as a tool to improving my memory so was quite disappointed that it is just a meander through how the author(?) improved his memory... shows how interesting it was that I can't remember! Also, I didn't finish the book because I got bored.
Published 19 months ago by Lovely Other Dinosaur


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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A tale of learning to remember - but few details, 27 April 2011
By 
Mark Shackelford "mark shackelford" (Worthing, UK) - See all my reviews
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This book is the story of how the author learnt to memorise lists of numbers, and the order of cards in a playing card deck. The book is a diary of how he met some memory champions (as a journalist) and got so interested he trained to enter the US Memory Championships.

The book has little or no information as to how to train your memory - which is a shame, but I guess if you are really interested there are specific books on the topic.

I am not sure that being able to memorise like this is actually a useful skill - rote learning went out of our schools a long time ago (although I do appreciate being taught my time table - used every day - and a skill sadly lacking in modern children).

A story of a group of somewhat geeky blokes (not sure there were any women involved) who spend their spare time practising remembering the sequence of digits in PI. Bit sad really... but perhaps no worse that playing computer games all day.

One interesting bit was a section on a lecturer who showed his students that the way the brain remembers images is much more powerful than we believe.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining read, but technique too much effort to use in practice, 28 Mar. 2011
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FlowaPowa (Ormskirk, England) - See all my reviews
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It is now over a year since I first read this book, and I have to say that I do not use the author's techniques for remembering things. It's too much effort. Basically you have to turn what you want to remember into quirky visual images and put them in a room in a memory palace that you have already built in your mind. This is surprisingly difficult to do unless you have a very fertile imagination that can conjure up different images for all the different lists of things that you need to remember every day!

However, I am still very glad that I read the book - the author, Joshua Foer, is very engaging and entertaining and I learnt a lot about how the memory works. The method is put across in a vivid way that has stayed with me, and we are superbly entertained along Joshua's path to becoming a top memory champion.

So if you want a book that will entertain and enlighten you, then I recommend this wholeheartedly to you.

However if you just want a self help book to improve your memory, don't go for this one.
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed, 21 April 2012
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This book came to me highly recommended as giving some thoughts about how one might improve one's memory. I wasn't expecting anything revolutionary just some things I could think about and perhaps try. It would also have been useful to have some background theory about memory - what is the latest thinking about it and so forth, and perhaps some examples relevant to the theory and the practical ideas offered. None of this at all, just vacuous statements of how so many people can achieve astonishing feats of memory and the rest was skipable padding. The great advantage of this book is that it takes no time at all to read, which is just as well as it has absolutely nothing to say.
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5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This has convinced me that..., 22 Feb. 2012
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Discerning - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything (Paperback)
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I actually don't want to remember everything. It's not worth the effort. Instead, I am going with a theory that I read in New Scientist a while ago, namely that 'downtime' every day is essential for your memory processing. I am clearly not having enough downtime. I certainly don't want to make up long-winded stories to remember things. An iPhone will do instead. There aren't any particular surprises in the book, which has rather minute text and forgettable anecdotes. I recommend delegating information to a minion or offspring to remember, writing notes and lolling about as much as possible.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice Info, Nasty Taste, 16 May 2011
By 
A. J. Russell-pattison "Tony" (Manchester. U.K.) - See all my reviews
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Moonwalking With Einstein (The Art and Science of Remembering Everything)

A journalist is sent to cover the U.S. Memory Championships , is mildly impressed with the feats of memory, talks to some of the competitors who instil in him the idea that anyone who trains using certain (very old ..classical Greece, no less) techniques and has commitment can be a champion. Journalist undertakes to accept training as "an experiment" with a view to attaining a standard sufficient to enter the next years U.S. Championship. He succeeds.

This is the narrative thread/storyline on which some truly fascinating information about all aspects of memory are going to be hung in the next 271 pages. The facts/case studies and research data on memory (and its corollary activities like memory storage, forgetting, natural talents and conditions and enhancement techniques) are engrossing and our Author deals with them more than competently. His style of popular comparison and analysis is accessible and as befits a journalist his exemplars are brilliant and catchy (see chicken sexers) and illustrate the more academic data very well. These sections are strung on to the story line but are almost distinct papers in themselves and for me were the best bits of this book, neutral, informative and eye opening but the author wants to package them with the story as a whole. Understandable but not necessarily beneficial.

The story line sections, his training, his trainers, his life in the year up to the big event suffer, at least for me, because of their tones and feelings. While the "mental athletes" who share their techniques are dutifully thanked the description and depiction of them feels somewhat snide and patronising, these are sad geeks. I suspect that the author feels that his own attempts at self depreciation will counterbalance this when, in fact, it doesn't because he is not very good at it and the "and I became one too" approach feels insincere. At times the journalist within gets without and some topics are overplayed. The unmasking of a memorising savant by the name of Daniel Temmet as possibly not a natural talent, i.e. not a savant but a man who trained himself using memory techniques, who then cons the world that his talent is innate not learned is certainly germane to the topic but turns into a hatchet job. Even the author says he "agonised" as to whether to include it in the book or not. He shouldn't have. It leaves a nasty taste in the mouth.

All this dislike of the style of the story line is obviously personal to me and, indeed, may be somewhat of a pond thing but it did effect my enjoyment of the book. This should however not detract from the diligent research, fluid discussion of the data and sheer quirkiness of the subject mater. I just wish he had found a better suited medium for holding the factual stuff together or just wrote the book "an amazing journey through memory", I would have enjoyed it more.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Memorable, 20 Oct. 2011
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This is a book about the Memory Championships, but it's also a sort of manual for self-improvement. I wouldn't call it a self-help book, but it's a paean to the value of practice and hard work, explaining the techniques the author learns en route to becoming a world-class competitive rememberer. It illustrates some of the amazing things the human mind can do. At the same time it is a bit like one of those documentaries about people who have weird obsessions; Foer takes us on a tour of some highly unusual people, including so-called memory athletes, and throws in plenty of history and science along the way, ranging from the way indexes are made to the Renaissance concept of memory. An intriguing mix of the uplifting and the trivial.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting!, 20 Oct. 2011
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A Biblioholic (England) - See all my reviews
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I enjoyed this book. It was interesting to see how the memories of the people profiled work and to see how, with a bit of dedication, anyone can train their memory to a pretty decent standard. There were some parts that were a little slow and I have to say that I skimmed them, but overall it was a good read.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars good read, 23 Jun. 2011
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Stevetrumpet (Beds UK) - See all my reviews
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This is a fascinating book which follows a journalist's research and subsequent involvement in the world of super memory skills. It starts with the author reporting on a memory games, where the contestants demonstrate their amazing memory skills. He digs deeper and spends time with the competitors and starts to learn the techniques involved. As the tale unfolds the reader is given information about he skills which are ivolved.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 19 May 2011
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kingg (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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A superb book. Provides a fascinating insight into the history of memory and, more importantly, an inspiring story of how one can exceed through application, hard-work, and receipt of constructive feedback. Highly recommended.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Science of Remembering -, 18 May 2011
By 
Mrs. D. A. Bremner (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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I enjoyed this book very much. The story behind the journey taken by the author to train his memory up to become US Memory Champion in just one year is packed full of information from various memory experts. Foer's determination is inspiring. Written in an easy to read journalistic style I found it hard to put this book down.
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